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Lithium In Water "Curbs Suicide"

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the correlation-is-reeeally-chill-man dept.

Medicine 458

SpuriousLogic writes "Drinking water which contains lithium may reduce the risk of suicide, a Japanese study suggests. Researchers compared levels of lithium in drinking water to suicide rates in the prefecture of Oita, which has a population of more than one million. The suicide rate was significantly lower in those areas with the highest levels of lithium, they wrote in the British Journal of Psychiatry. And I was only worried about fluoridation affecting my precious bodily fluids before ..."

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458 comments

Anyone ever read that Stephen King story? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795769)

Where they spike the water to cure aggression in people? It doesn't end well.

Re:Anyone ever read that Stephen King story? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796563)

I'm so happy 'cause today
I found my friends
They're in my head
I'm so ugly, that's okay
'Cause so are you
Broke our mirrors
Sunday morning is everyday
For all I care
And I'm not scared
Light my candles, in a daze
'Cause I've found God

Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah

I'm so lonely, that's ok
I shaved my head
And I'm not sad
And just maybe
I'm to blame for all I've heard
I'm not sure
I'm so excited
I can't wait to meet you there
And I don't care
I'm so horny, that's okay
My will is good

Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah

I like it I'm not gonna crack
I miss you I'm not gonna crack
I love you I'm not gonna crack
I killed you I'm not gonna crack

I like it I'm not gonna crack
I miss you I'm not gonna crack
I love you I'm not gonna crack
I killed you I'm not gonna crack

I'm so happy 'cause today
I found my friends
They're in my head
I'm so ugly, but that's okay
'Cause so are you
Broke our mirrors
Sunday morning is everyday
For all I care
And I'm not scared
Light my candles in a daze
'Cause I've found god

Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah

I like it I'm not gonna crack
I miss you I'm not gonna crack
I love you I'm not gonna crack
I killed you I'm not gonna crack

I like it I'm not gonna crack
I miss you I'm not gonna crack
I love you I'm not gonna crack
I killed you I'm not gonna crack

Anyone ever watch that Joss Whedon movie? (5, Funny)

joetomato (1073508) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795781)

Where they spike the air to cure aggression in people? It doesn't end well.

Re:Anyone ever watch that Joss Whedon movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795821)

Did they become more aggressed?

me two. (3, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795839)

Hi! I also base all my scientific, medical, and public policy opinions on movies and other fiction.

(Hey, it worked for Inconvenient Truth. :P)

Re:me two. (3, Informative)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795997)

Hi! I also base all my scientific, medical, and public policy opinions on movies and other fiction.

FYI, lithium has been widely proscribed for depression for 25+ years. It's hardly surprising that a population that consumes more of it than normal would have a lower rate of suicide.

But you were saying about movies and other fiction? One can't make a humorous Strangelove reference in the same paragraph as reporting news?

Re:me two. (4, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796101)

I'm usually not much of a grammar Nazi, but you should probably realize that prescribe and proscribe are almost antonyms.

Re:me two. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796421)

I'm usually not much of a grammar Nazi, but you should probably realize that prescribe and proscribe are almost antonyms.

Baby steps. ;P

Re:me two. (-1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796483)

Is lithium still popular as an anti-depressant, or has it fallen out of favor now that the patents have expired?

Re:Anyone ever watch that Joss Whedon movie? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795855)

You do realize the proverbial asswhipping you're going to receive on /. by forgetting the name of Serenity, right?

Re:Anyone ever watch that Joss Whedon movie? (5, Funny)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795963)

It was as if a million voices cried out 'WOOOSH' and were suddenly silenced.

Re:Anyone ever watch that Joss Whedon movie? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796487)

You do realize the proverbial asswhipping you're going to receive on /. by confusing Miranda and Alderaan, right?

;-)

Re:Anyone ever watch that Joss Whedon movie? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796115)

No, sorry I'm a little too old to watch teen films/shows.

Re:Anyone ever watch that Joss Whedon movie? (2, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796327)

What are ya talkin' about, man? The title of the movie is all about non-aggression!

Re:Anyone ever watch that Joss Whedon movie? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796559)

Or how about that Zach Braff film, "Garden State"?
(I highly recommend it, by the way).

Short Version: Because of the lithium, he never feels any emotion at all; eventually chooses to give it up and just resolve the problems that have been making him depressed.

I still recommend seeing the movie though!

Not surprising (5, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795795)

Concidering that Lithium is used to treat a number of mental illnesses like bipolar and depression that should be expected. Here in the US there are many living with undiagnosed depression and we are seen as a tollerant and accepting society in regards to mental health. In Japan there is far less social acceptance (at least when I lived there, maybe its changed) so I would expect and even higher percentage of non treated people.

Re:Not surprising (2, Informative)

XorNand (517466) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795837)

From my understanding, lithium is used to counter the manic (irrationally and exceptionally happy) episodes of bipolar disorder. Other drugs are used to tame the corresponding depressive behavior.

Re:Not surprising (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795897)

Manic episodes are definitely not "irrationally and exceptionally happy" and are very often extremely unpleasant.

Lithium acts as a mood stabilizer and works on both depression and mania.

The post you replied to is exactly right. In places with a mood stabilizing chemical in the water, suicide rates are lower. Fairly unsurprising except that the amount of lithium being dealt with is probably well below the known therapeutic threshold.

Re:Not surprising (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795937)

Lithium is basically a "mood stabilizer" and is increasingly used in recalcitrant depression (plenty of stuff on the web), albeit at much higher doses than what is found in drinking water.

Just glancing at the study, it's an interesting correlation, but it's going to be hard to do much with this. Just imagine the anti-floridation crowd going ballistic if anyone suggested adding Lithium to municipal water supplies.

Re:Not surprising (5, Insightful)

waveformwafflehouse (1221950) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796033)

And a universally delivered mood stabilizer makes for a conveniently complacent population.

Get your propaganda goggles on for this one.

Re:Not surprising (5, Funny)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796367)

And a universally delivered mood stabilizer makes for a conveniently complacent population. Get your propaganda goggles on for this one.

At first the idea of this totally pissed me off. But then I had a nice, cool, glass of water and thought better of it.

Re:Not surprising (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796567)

Good thing my state is running out of water. I'm getting a Big Tank. I don't deny women my essence though. Not going that far.

Re:Not surprising (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796305)

You don't have to add it to the water anymore. Just implement a 'waste water treatment' plant to purify the water enough for watering lawns and golf courses. Then treat the local river water for municipal drinking supply. Wait till the pill popping house wives take lithium, and presto, profit!

And if you have to ask what ??? step is, read up on the high levels of birth control hormones in tap water and how they got there.

Re:Not surprising (5, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796359)

And maybe the real problem is that the body needs a certain amount of lithium to be stable, but some people need it more than other due to genetic predisposition.

And if we get it through water or through food is a different issue. One contributing fact can also be that we use pure sodium chloride in our cooking instead of a mix of salts where lithium and potassium also are present.

But it's probably best to avoid chewing on those LiIon batteries. But eating vegetables [naturalhea...niques.com] seems to be a good idea.

Re:Not surprising (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796411)

Well it wouldn't just be them having a fit. Some folks don't react very well to Lithium, it can cause tremors and kidney damage in those that can't tolerate it. What are the pro Lithium crowd gonna tell them, drink beer?

Lithium is used to fight bipolar disorder (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795823)

It is not widely promoted since it can't be patented. This is not a conspiracy theory (even if it sounds like this), see it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_pharmacology [wikipedia.org]

Re: Lithium is used to fight bipolar disorder (5, Funny)

Mr Stubby (1122233) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795985)

from that wiki link - "The most common side effects of lithium are thirst and polyuria."
So lithium in the water would make people drink more water and get more lithum which makes them drink more water and get more... oh the humanity!

Re: Lithium is used to fight bipolar disorder (2, Informative)

irtza (893217) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796005)

It may not be promoted but is still taught in school as an appropriate mood stabilizer and is commonly used to treat bipolar disorder. I think concern over nephrogenic diabetes insipidus may be more of a limitation in its clinical use.

Re: Lithium is used to fight bipolar disorder (5, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796591)

It can also cause thyroid problems and kidney failure. Patients must undergo very stringent tests to see if their body can cope with lithium, before it is given to them.

The problem is, lithium is highly toxic only very slightly above the theraputic threshold, making it extremely dangerous. Failure to drink, or sweating too much, will cause the lithium concentration to become dangerous or possibly deadly.

Well, that's -a- problem. Another is that it massively reduces the seizure threshold, so anyone potentially subject to seizures must also be put on anti-seizure medication to cancel the side-effect or risk having their brain turn into swiss cheese. However, each time you add medicines, you add risk of an abreaction to the new medication and also risk of the medications interacting in harmful ways.

(Many who die of medications they were prescribed die because the medications interacted.)

Despite Lithium being one of the longest-used medications for mental healthcare, it is still not very well understood. Patients are tried on it to see if it'll work for them, because it works much of the time. If it doesn't work, the doctor will try something else at random, and keep on going until something does work.

Why there haven't been studies using Lithium isotopes to trace the effects and identify the specific class(es) of condition(s) Lithium can deal with and which it can't, I don't know. It would seem easy enough and it would reduce the randomness in the mental healthcare industry.

HS chem may be a fading memory but... (2, Interesting)

Arainach (906420) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795847)

Doesn't Lithium react explosively with water?

Re:HS chem may be a fading memory but... (3, Informative)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795877)

Evidently it is fading for you ;-)

They are talking about lithium ions in water (from salts like lithium chloride), not dumping metallic lithium in the reservoires ;-)

Re:HS chem may be a fading memory but... (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795953)

They are talking about lithium ions in water (from salts like lithium chloride), not dumping metallic lithium in the reservoires ;-)

Speak for yourself. I want to see the 'boom'. Getting tired of all this hiney flu stuff.

They are not? (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796529)

In slow motion I turn to you, as 40 metric tons of metallic lithium tumble down into the national reservoir, "you mean this might be a bad thing"?

Re:HS chem may be a fading memory but... (5, Funny)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795879)

That's the idea; if you drink exploding water you can't commit suicide.

Re:HS chem may be a fading memory but... (1)

Fuji Kitakyusho (847520) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795889)

Came here to say exactly this. Although, IIRC, Lithium reacts, but not explosively. As you go down in the alkali metals (lithium's column in the periodic table), the violence of the reaction increases. Lithium --> Sodium --> Potassium --> Rubidium --> Cesium --> Francium. I think you can get a violent explosion at Sodium or greater.

Re:HS chem may be a fading memory but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796381)

As you go down in the alkali metals (lithium's column in the periodic table), the violence of the reaction increases. Lithium --> Sodium --> Potassium --> Rubidium --> Cesium --> Francium. I think you can get a violent explosion at Sodium or greater.

True, but... dude, what I wouldn't give to see someone crazy enough (or rich enough!) testing the hypothesis with a macroscopic quantity of francium. LOL.

Re:HS chem may be a fading memory but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795901)

HS chem may be a fading memory but aren't hydrogen and oxygen gases? so why is water a liquid? so confused :(

Re:HS chem may be a fading memory but... (3, Informative)

Viros (1128445) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795919)

Perhaps the bigger problem is this: I once dated a young woman who had lithium treatments for bipolar disorder and, as a result, had to constantly get her blood tested to make sure it wasn't at toxic levels.

Yes, in certain amounts, lithium helps, but in larger amounts, it is toxic to the human body. If we put it in something like water, how are we going to explain to people that drinking too much water might cause bone loss, kidney damage and seizures? This is not to mention the problems lithium can cause on the unborn during pregnancy. What, are we going to add tap water to things women shouldn't ingest when pregnant?

Re:HS chem may be a fading memory but... (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796349)

Sodium and potassium are both a lot more exciting.

Lithium kind of disappoints.

Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (4, Insightful)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795875)

The idea that "scientists" are going to be spiking water supply with Li+, a freaking powerful mood stabilizing aka mood altering drug for the "Greater Good"?! My wildly successful but bipolar Boss took this stuff to deal with his manic lows, and it he would become a zombie. Everything he accomplished as a businessman he did BEFORE taking lithium. I would rather see funding and energy expended to reduce suicides without "stabilizing" the humanity into a calm herd.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795941)

Evil anti-capitalist politicians disagree.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (2, Insightful)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796447)

Please could you cut it with the FUD? Evil politicians are neither communists or capitalists, they are fascists, they'll pay lip service to anyone as long as they can have as much power and money as possible.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795943)

The idea that "scientists" are going to be spiking water supply with Li+, a freaking powerful mood stabilizing aka mood altering drug for the "Greater Good"?! My wildly successful but bipolar Boss took this stuff to deal with his manic lows, and it he would become a zombie. Everything he accomplished as a businessman he did BEFORE taking lithium. I would rather see funding and energy expended to reduce suicides without "stabilizing" the humanity into a calm herd.

I now want the government to stay away from my precious bodily fluids, though I didn't complain about flouride.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (2, Insightful)

Pirate_Pettit (1531797) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795961)

Well, my first response is "F*** That!". But on further reflection, I seriously doubt it's something to worry about, except in our most Orwellian of nightmares. Who'd approve such an extreme approach, save those desiring world domination? More importantly, who'd drink it? I suspect the study had more to do with curiosity than malicious intent. All of the conspiracy laced subtext appears when a news reporter gets a hold of it. Sensationalism sells, and that's all this is.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796459)

Well, my first response is "F*** That!". But on further reflection, I seriously doubt it's something to worry about, except in our most Orwellian of nightmares. Who'd approve such an extreme approach, save those desiring world domination? More importantly, who'd drink it?
I suspect the study had more to do with curiosity than malicious intent. All of the conspiracy laced subtext appears when a news reporter gets a hold of it. Sensationalism sells, and that's all this is.

I predict you'll see a proposal for treating municipal water supplies with lithium in the U.K. within six months.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (1)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795967)

Considering how poorly my body reacted to it, yes, yes I am. And then there's the added bonus of how mixing medications is not remotely a good idea.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (5, Informative)

altek (119814) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796163)

I don't think anyone's saying anything about scientists PUTTING lithium into the water. They went around and measured levels of lithium already in the water and found that the areas with higher levels had less suicides. Seems like other factors could be at play here too, considering that geographic areas are often different from one another in many societal aspects.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (5, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796275)

I don't think anyone's saying anything about scientists PUTTING lithium into the water. They went around and measured levels of lithium already in the water and found that the areas with higher levels had less suicides.

I suppose all water has some level of lithium. Maybe people evolved for lithium-rich water (compared to the worldwide average today) and millions of people worldwide are actually suffering from lithium deficiency. Heck, it even kills some of them.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (2, Informative)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796345)

Lithium is found naturally in some spring water. Being that it's an an ionic element, as the water filters through certain rocks it can pick up natural lithium salts.

Some bottled spring water even has trace amounts. Not the "spring water" that is actually from a tap in New Jersey, but real natural springs. Lithium Springs were once all the rage.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (1)

azgard (461476) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796441)

It wouldn't help them anyway. Lithium may well block any emotional reaction. But in the end, to want freedom and justice is a rational thing. I doubt any sort of chemical can prevent a revolution, unless it would be a chemical to stop rational thinking; but who would want peasants like that?

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796501)

There is no such thing as 'creepy' in the Japanese society.

Japan, only place you can get a mix of bukkake and a crazy game show.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (1)

Pyrmontvillage (1535329) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796539)

Agreed. Classic Case of Dealing with the Symptoms as Opposed to the Structural environmental/societal Causes.

Re:Anyone else massively creeped out by this? (5, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796569)

Why is being calm equated to being a zombie or being in a herd? Im certainly not advocating spiking the water with anything but fluoride, but its interesting how we react to news like this. We completely accept the speedy society. Hell, politicans and business want us to be stressed out and speedy. They want us to gulp down more afternoon coffee, red bull, bawls, soda, sugar, etc. It makes you more productive right? So, now youre doing the work of two people and catching up on your deadlines. Its not their concern that youre slowly developing heart disease or that youre anxious all the time and finally end up crashing around 3 or 4pm only to go home and veg out in front of the TV until bedtime to start the cycle over again. Theyre just happy they didnt have to hire an extra person in your department.

So, when someone suggests that calm might be better for you socially and medically, suddenly we're frothing at the mouth and jonsing for starbucks. I think this says a lot about modern society. Personally, I have no patience with the speedy types. You know, the over-worked person at your company who is on her third starbucks before 10am and wont stop talking your ear off or is buzzing around like a loon at all your meetings. Yeah, I want to work on a project with her.

Perhaps there's something to being in a calm town, regardless whether its water causing it or just people who want to be calm and happy instead of anxious and speedy.

Drug everybody (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795913)

Why not just flood all water supplies with every drug we can think of? Hey, thorazine seems to work! Is it really the governments job to inject vitamins/minerals/animals into our water supply? Sure, flouride seems to work, and I can see this study leading to lithium being added. I wonder if I could make Riddalin(sp?][TM] bottled water? Justs seems to be getting a bit nuts to me that we have to add something to everything.

We already do.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796085)

Why not just flood all water supplies with every drug we can think of? Hey, thorazine seems to work! Is it really the governments job to inject vitamins/minerals/animals into our water supply? Sure, flouride seems to work, and I can see this study leading to lithium being added. I wonder if I could make Riddalin(sp?][TM] bottled water? Justs seems to be getting a bit nuts to me that we have to add something to everything.

We already have an abundance of prescription drugs in our water supply, through excretion as well as through the practice of "flushing" unused meds to keep them from the children.

It'll take 3 seconds on the NY Times, Google, or Wikipedia to uncover numerous reputable articles on this.

Re:Drug everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796117)

You're water probably already has Lithium in it since it occurs naturally and is unregulated in tap water (not sure for countries other than US).

http://www.ewg.org/tapwater/contaminants/contaminant.php?contamcode=1083 [ewg.org]

Watch out! Only 10 of the 39,751 test for Lithium and almost all of them report it being there. It's so dangerous you could be dead from it already and not even know it.

Re:Drug everybody (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796461)

I wonder if I could make Riddalin(sp?][TM] bottled water?

'Ritalin' is how you spell it, and it's just a stimulant. You can already get it in a can or brew it yourself (although in that form it's spelled and pronounced differently - 'Caffeine' - but the effect is the same :)

Seriously, I've been on Ritalin before and the effect isn't a lot different to a strong can of Red Bull or similar.

This is all a conspiracy... (0, Troll)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795921)

by the machines, to turn Humans into Lithium batteries!

That could work (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795935)

Human body heat is only really good for base load power. Add storage to the mix and you have a way to deal with peak load. Sounds like a winner to me.

lithium is well known (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27795933)

for its ability to suppress suicidal urges. It's significantly more effective at suicide reduction than any other drug available. For this reason, it's still commonly used for treating people with bipolar. Ironically, it's also one of the more toxic drugs and easy to commit suicide with.

Having drugs that reduce the incidence of suicide is extremely important especially for bipolar. Post diagnosis, there is approximately a 15 to 20% suicide rate for bipolar patients. I was almost in that 15 to 20% I know very clearly why people try to end their lives and I also know that if they're not terminally ill, it can and should be prevented.

If a friend or family member is seriously down, withdraws from social circles (and not just because they're on a bataan death march coding project), start giving away belongings or are talking about how it hurts too much to stay alive, ask them these three questions.

Do you have a plan to kill yourself? (Ask how)
do you have the materials to kill yourself with?
Do you have a place/time for killing yourself?

A single yes means stay close, call mental health in the morning. Two yeses or more means get the person to the emergency room and tell the doctor about these questions and responses. If the person will not go with you, call the emergency room, tell them what's going on and they will send emergency personnel to help.

Almost all people thinking of suicide will give you signals and, even though they may not show it, want someone to stop them. Most importantly, if you try and they kill themselves anyway, don't blame yourself.

Re:lithium is well known (5, Insightful)

ductonius (705942) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796171)

Mod parent up.

People who intend to commit suicide tend to talk about it. It means they need help, please try and get them to it/it to them.

Re:lithium is well known (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796541)

Mod parent up.

People who intend to commit suicide tend to talk about it. It means they need help, please try and get them to it/it to them.

Isn't assisting suicide illegal? (in the states at least)

Re:lithium is well known (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796185)

Having drugs that reduce the incidence of suicide is extremely important especially for bipolar. Post diagnosis, there is approximately a 15 to 20% suicide rate for bipolar patients.

See, it's better to just ignore it and not diagnose it.

Re:lithium is well known (3, Insightful)

kubrick (27291) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796489)

I also know that if they're not terminally ill, it can and should be prevented.

Care to back up that assertion of moral authority? My body, my choice.

Re:lithium is well known (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796519)

I have never before heard an argument for suicide before, and certainly never the same one used for abortion. Congratulations.

Does not address core problem (4, Interesting)

linebackn (131821) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795939)

Araaag, drugs drugs drugs drugs. How about addressing the core problem of making life not SUCK so much?!

Re:Does not address core problem (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796013)

How do you make life not suck so much? Seriously -- is it better pay? Free sex? More leisure time? I am depressed about 90% of the time and have been since I was 16 (I'm 40 now). I work part-time (about 3 days/week on average), make a (barely) six figure income, and my wife is bi. I'm not making up a word of this. I should feel incredibly happy, but instead, a life-long sense of despair prevents exactly that.

I think there is a good part of depression that is due to external forces. I can say that when I was poor, it was worse. But a large part of depression is wholly internal and no amount of "making life suck less" is going to change that.

Re:Does not address core problem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796079)

You could try Zen Buddhism. I went from having to do wacked out shit all the time to get my highs to being able to enjoy previously boring stuff like just paying attention to my breath or eating a salad.

Re:Does not address core problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796153)

How do you make life not suck so much? Seriously -- is it better pay? Free sex? More leisure time? I am depressed about 90% of the time and have been since I was 16 (I'm 40 now). I work part-time (about 3 days/week on average), make a (barely) six figure income, and my wife is bi. I'm not making up a word of this. I should feel incredibly happy, but instead, a life-long sense of despair prevents exactly that.

I think there is a good part of depression that is due to external forces. I can say that when I was poor, it was worse. But a large part of depression is wholly internal and no amount of "making life suck less" is going to change that.

Perhaps if people didn't generally spend 1/7 of their life in a large building with a well-dressed man telling them they're going to hell because they were born a bad person, they'd feel better.

Better pay, free sex, and more leisure time are nice, but won't make you as happy as realizing that you really ARE a good person and accepting it. Accepting and living with it is probably more difficult in this sadist society.

Re:Does not address core problem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796247)

Bullshit. 95% of today's teens are atheist, and they still kill themselves. Christians are actually probably less likely to commit suicide, simply because it's considered a sin.

No Duh (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#27795955)

In similar news researchers have discovered that a small town in Canada built on an underground resevoir of naturally-occuring scotch had statistically higher rates of traffic accidents.

Lithiumania (1)

kettal (1540567) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796009)

If Lithium reduces suicide, then why does Lithuania have the world's highest suicide rate? This story is bogus.

Fuck man... (4, Funny)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796037)

Putting mood stabilizers in water. Fuck, that's a creepy thought. I mean ... damn, isn't that supposed to be the realm of Coast to Coast AM?

Re:Fuck man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796131)

Nah, even Coast to Coast AM never got that far out there...unless it was orchestrated by a vast government and alien conspiracy who's sole purpose is to reduce the human population down to 100 million and to rule the world....

Come to think of it you're right, we're fucked. Where's my tin-foil hat?

Re:Fuck man... (4, Funny)

shawb (16347) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796281)

Where's my tin-foil hat?

Your tin-foil hat has reported back to the Department of Thought as malfunctioning. Fear not, it will soon be returned in proper working order.

Unethical (2, Insightful)

zxjio (1475207) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796061)

You absolutely in no circumstances can ethically give a healthy person mind-altering substances without their consent... People quoted who say it's interesting for potential are on a massive ego trip.

Re:Unethical (5, Insightful)

BobisOnlyBob (1438553) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796259)

So can we ethically allow mind-altering substances that are naturally present to exist in the water supply? It's a tricky business the moment you cease drinking water from rivers or springs and start piping it anywhere. The people piping it suddenly have an ethical obligation regarding its contents.

This study was to identify potential NATURAL contaminants that alter emotional disposition. Nothing about changing the water supply. It is potentially interesting, in that it may change our understanding of suicidal behaviour from place to place, and our understanding of something as simple as the water supply's varied social effects.

When you drink tap water, you (presumably a healthy person) are consuming a substance that may or may not have mind-altering substances just naturally. Almost all chemicals have some negligible effect on the mind, some moreso than others. Your region probably hasn't been analysed for lithium concentrations; you could be in a naturally higher region for all you know. Are you being given a mind-altering substance without your consent? Quite possibly.

Or to put it another way... There are more shades of grey than there are in your morality.

Great for mind, not to great for the Kidney's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796075)

Long term exposure to this and other heavy metals eventually cause the kidneys to fail. I see two options, live short and happy, or live long and be miserable.

The Fed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796191)

Well, think about this: If there's Lithium in the water, it's likely that the populace won't -revolt- either. Even with confiscatory taxes and masses of freedoms taken away. I wouldn't put it past Obama for a second.

Understandable (1, Redundant)

zaunuz (624853) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796209)

..since Lithium has been used as an antidepressive substance for atleast a few decades. Could be that it's been used for that for alot longer, all i know is that it was common in the early 90's

Parepin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796211)

I've heard Parepin has this effect as well.

I'm drinking the water. You should, too.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796245)

Do we, as a society, really need more marginal people to survive?

There are plenty of non hereditary things one could kill off from the water supply, with more urgency than trying to save a small percentage of out of spec population.

Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27796261)

Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without
Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow
Oh but God I want to let it go

Come to bed, don't make me sleep alone
Couldn't hide the emptiness you let it show
Never wanted it to be so cold
Just didn't drink enough to say you love me

I can't hold on to me
Wonder what's wrong with me

Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without
Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow

Don't want to let it lay me down this time
Drown my will to fly
Here in the darkness I know myself
Can't break free until I let it go
Let me go

Darling, I forgive you after all
Anything is better than to be alone
And in the end I guess I had to fall
Always find my place among the ashes

I can't hold on to me
Wonder what's wrong with me

Lithium, don't want to lock me up inside
Lithium, don't want to forget how it feels without
Lithium, stay in love with you
Oh I'm gonna let it go

Just so you know: (2)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796321)

Lithium is a hard-core drug used by psychiatrists. To quiet those, where nothing else helps anymore.
It has tons of site-effects. And afterwards, you are usually not the same person anymore. Which may be good, if you were destroying the place, including yourself, before it. But it's bad in any other case.

Of course I don't know what the dose is that they put in the water. But if it changes people's behavior, it obviously has an effect.

I know this, because a friend of mine was given this because of a feeling of extreme heart problems while trying to sleep. And when they noticed it did not help, he got something even stronger. He slept like a baby. But only as long as he was on the stuff. Typical symptom therapy with no care for the real cause.
He was only healed (no problems and no "medicine") after a very intense psychotherapy.

If they would put lithium in my water, I would sue them for deliberate aggravated assault (or how the lawyers call it in the US) and and psycho-manipulation (something like that).
Not funny. Not funny at all.

Stop tagging correlationisnotcausation (4, Insightful)

VirusEqualsVeryYes (981719) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796371)

People, please stop tagging every study on Slashdot with correlationisnotcausation. I know it's standard here to believe this community is somehow more enlightened than all others, but do you really think that researchers became researchers without being able to ask simple questions? In fact, in an idealized study, it's not even a relevant question!

Moreover, this moronic practice is especially stupid for this story because the neurological effects of lithium salts have been explored for decades. This is not a revolutionary study by any means. So unless years and years of studies have gone horribly wrong, then yes, in this case, correlation does, in fact, imply causation.

Side Effects (5, Informative)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 4 years ago | (#27796463)

According to Epocrates, Lithium has side effects

Common Reactions:
tremor
polyuria
diarrhea
vomiting
drowsiness
muscle weakness
arrhythmias
anorexia
nausea
blurred vision
dry mouth
fatigue

Serious Reactions:
coma
seizures
ventricular arrhythmias
bradycardia, severe
syncope
goiter
hypothyroidism
hyperparathyroidism
pseudotumor cerebri
Raynaud's phenomenon
diabetes insipidus

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